Skip to main content

tv   After Words with Pamela Haag  CSPAN  June 25, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

10:00 pm
of libertarians and i think only 8% of americans are truly libertarian in terms of rejecting government relations in all areas of life. it is not a poplar position for most people in this country. ...
10:01 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> c-span create bankamerica's cablevision companies. >> now on book tvs afterwards program historian pamela haag provides a history of guns in america. >> we are here today with pamela haag, author of a new book called the gutting of america, business and the making of america has gone culture. hello, pamela, how are you? guest: hello. i'm fine stephen pamela, why did you write this book and when did you decide we needed a book like this?
10:02 pm
guest: it's an interesting story. today most at people that talk about love got talk about guns love guns or hate guns and what i wrote the story i had never owned a gone or used one nor was i involved in gun control politics. instead i came to the story through a ghost story and when i was in graduate school in new haven a friend of mine told me this story about oliver winchester's dollars-- daughter-in-law. he was known as the rightful king in the manufacture of the rifle and according to legend, sarah, his daughter-in-law believed he was being hunted by the spirit of everyone killed by rindge josh winchester rifle. so, i found this a captivating story and i began to pursue leads of this elusive subject and
10:03 pm
i set the project decide to work on another book. then, newtown happen, sandy hook and after that massacre my mind wandered back to sarah winchester, only this time i felt maybe i was starting with the wrong end of the story, that may be the more interesting story here, the more serious story wasn't sarah's ghost story, but the story of the gun industry itself about which i knew nothing and i wanted to know more, so being trained as a historian i began to look into it and followed the trail of the money of the gun industry. host: follow the money. fascinating. went to read a paragraph to you from your book quote: the tragedy of american gun violence emerge from the finality
10:04 pm
of the american gun business, the forgotten but ironclad logic that gunned america was that amorality of business, not diabolical intention of that merchants of death or the gunslinger. the gun culture that exist today in america developed additive perpetual quest for due in larger markets that had exceptional social consequences. gun politics is the mystification of the gun and american gun culture is extend as a legacy of the second amendment, militia, while less gunslingers, cowboys, the privateer, gangs and the malignant charisma of violent video games, manhood and hollywood. it's explained in short as a legacy of almost everything except what was always and still is a business unquote. that seems to me to
10:05 pm
capture a lot of the thrust of this book and i just wanted you to talk about how gun culture is being propelled by business is underappreciated and under examined in our culture today. guest: i would say that if the reader takes away any message from this book, it's that the history of our gun culture has a few elements. one indeed is exceptional and that's the second amendment and that's unique among nations, but large parts in the history of art gun culture comes from an exceptional things the gun industry. guns were not just about the second amendment. they are also a commodity that was sold and designed to be sold and was treated very much like an ordinary unregulated commodity in key years of this existence, so to really understand why we ended
10:06 pm
up with a heavily armed nation is important to understand the unexceptional part of that legacy, which is that the gun industry acted like an industry, behaved like an industry, followed the ordinary trends of all other industries in our history and had the same aspirations of any other industry. once a guns began to be produced industrially and in larger numbers it was only natural that the gun industry lists of every generation had to revisit the question who is going to buy all of these guns. simply sitting back in dealing with the existing demand would not have been enough, so i think that it is strange could julie d to believe that the element of our gun culture that at-- had very most to gain by selling and promoting and celebrating their products is the very most invisible when we think about guns. instead, much of the political talk today is
10:07 pm
exclusively about interpreting the second amendment. of the gun industry has become almost invisible in that history. host: well, if i were you i whitney or oliver winchester or any of the historical gun manufacturers and i were reading this book i might be inclined to push back on a word you use which is that you describe it as the product of gun culture as a product of the amorality of business. my question is, if a manufacturer then or today is creating a product that is totally legal and purchased in large numbers by police department's and the military to do all kinds of things they are authorized to do and for citizens to hunt or protect themselves with, how it is that a reflection of amorality in business?
10:08 pm
guest: when mean by amorality is that the first gun capitalists, the first gun industrialist weren't thinking about their product is a good product or a bad products. today, we live in an age of more conscious capitalism, a bit more talk about ethics and corporate ethics, but for the first generation who really built the gun industry a moral simply means that they looked at guns more as a product to sell. they didn't credit with a lot of malignancy or worry about that nor did they really celebrate the gun as something more than what was. they had a very empirical view and it's interesting because most of the first guns started doing other things to all of our moved from making men's shirts into the rifle. eli whitney then found himself broke and took up a contract to make
10:09 pm
muskets for the us government. that was something to do with the machine, so amorality really describes a world of men, a type of men who are responsible for starting this industry who were more interested in the means of making things any particular things things they made, so they were interested in getting the machine. they were on the vanguard of american industry, not just the gun culture. so, in some ways they were rather neutral about their products. host: did any of these men enabling they were all men, the key gun manufacturers of history , did any of them express in the research you did and you did an amazing amount of research. guest: thanks. host: i should mention this is a definitive and per.-- provocative history of the gun business, but did any of these men share any doubts or moral qualms about what they were
10:10 pm
doing or what they had done? guest: that's a great question. there's a lot of ways to tackle that. at first, oliver winchester very much saw his rifle as a weapon for the romance of war as he called it and that's not unusual. many industrialists and americans still very much thoughts of the gun as an implement for war. they weren't thinking about as much as a civilian sense. but, it's important to realize that when guns are produced by private industry and not for public defense, the logic is a difference. samuel colt was a very ambitious capitalist and he had very-- he was figuring out how to sell his guns and for him things like war, which are horrible for civilians was more like advertisement for this
10:11 pm
was something that could promote his rifle. he looked at the sensation of war at a time of great difficulty. in 1838, the seminal work, his cult revolver was used, but when the world was over he complained that it had happened so quickly that his markets had been destroyed, so the logic of making guns pour money into private private industry was very different than the logic of guns that used and more-- were. to look at it from a business calculus. oliver winchester wrote somewhat frequently about what he called the moral effect of his rifle, how would it affect the person who had the rifle and he commented on the coolness that it could impart to the gun owner and he looked at it as a weapon that could multiply the power of one individual and make him equal to a group of men. towards the end of his life when he was really
10:12 pm
developing the us commercial market in the 1870s, he talked very provocatively about his weapon was perfect for single individuals traveling to a wild country. he was beginning to develop the rifle as one of self-defense against violence conditions and circumstances. guest: in terms of regret, no, i don't think-- samuel: sold guns until the last minute to this out before the civil war and was called a -based trader bile the new york papers and was certainly excoriated for that, but is, it was-- [inaudible] host: and went to get to sarah winchester in a second, but before we do you mentioned advertising. there's a part of your book that totally amazed me, page 324. i would like you to explain to us what this is.
10:13 pm
quote picturing a red haired-- picture a redheaded boy in the prior one of the movies on the edge of his seat, eyes popping out of his head. at the end is written across a big game somewhere winchester rifles were the star speakers and upper flushes your ad: boys earning winchester sharpshooter metals. what will he say that his quarters for? a winchester, of coarse. one more in its continued on page 337. this is an ad. you know your son with a gun, but you don't know how much he wants it. he can't tell you. it's beyond words. what is that and who wrote that and what does it signify in the history of the gun business? guest: great question and of those are provocative quotes. one of my favorite of
10:14 pm
the winchester archives is the confidential sales bulletin. those are both from the early 1900s. i believe from 1917 and the second quote is from a literary ad for guns 21 and what they really signifies a huge change in how the gun industry was going about its business at the turn-of-the-century. they things were happening in america. we were an urban country, more modern and most important this was the frontier era, so like any other industry gunmakers needed to figure out, how do we create value for this products. they were also swimming in the currents of modern advertisements and more industry-- interested in emotional appeal and tapping into demands and desires and feelings about products, not just needs. that for status from massive winchester company marketing campaign that they
10:15 pm
shorthanded in a company records the boys plan and the idea was that they were going to sell letters to other real tellers to send to boys and they had an exact number they wanted to reach. it was 3,573,000 boys between the ages of 10 and 15 and the company felt that this was their new niche, their new target audience. it's surprising to us today, that they thought that boys who saw that winchester add at the end of a saturday matinee movie would be saving of their quarters and going to a local theater and buying their winchester rifle. the company was aware that in some states had age limits on who could buy guns and the urge their sales force to write to headquarters. but, they also as indicated in the second
10:16 pm
ad were becoming very emotional. really deepening the mystique of the kind. you know, the gun was something out maybe in the 1800s was needed, but not loved and in the 1900s the gun is something that is loved but maybe not needed, so the company started tapping into the emerging language of psychology and subconscious desires and started making the gun really more than object of emotional fulfillment , more of a luxury and do something that could tap into emotional needs if not practical needs. host: there's a word we have not yet mentioned the net hunting. for the last-- since america was created there is a significant portion of the population in rural and western and mountain plains areas and if they
10:17 pm
didn't make a living or put food on the table through hunting the enjoyed it as a sport and still do today. my question is how does that connects to your history and is that totally separate and apart from the military and crime components of the history that you are telling, the hunting part of it? guest: oliver winchester actually was so enamored of having his rifle be a military weapon that he developed that-- did not develop the sporty market until much later and hunting was more of a hobby in the early 1900s. in the 19th century somewhat talk about a gun culture. i think they were eclectic gun cultures and the gun industry in the 1870s and 1880s was very attuned to these eclectic cultures and one of them certainly was the
10:18 pm
recreational list, shooting and fishing and as like that and at the same time they recognized what the winchester company called the ordinary shooter that i did the average shooter in the ordinary shooter was a farmer, farmer's boy and never reach through american agriculturists, numeral new yorker and of course they were also seeking out military markets, army and navy journal, so really in the 19th century you could see a whole variety of different kind of gun subcultures that coexist and in the 20th century politically the gun kind of get unified as one thing, one object. but, for most of our history we had very eclectic uses of guns and many americans look to guns more as tools and that's a major point my book. of a transition here from the 1800s to our time is the gun moving
10:19 pm
from a tool to something that has deeper political value, social value, in that the noble value, direct value. host: sarah winchester had a house. tell us about her house and tell us about her ghosts. guest: so, as i said sarah winchester was oliver winchester's daughter-in-law. she was born in new haven in 1840. it was celebrated as the bell of new haven and varied oliver winchester's only son in 1862. she had a series of misfortunes in her life. she lost several babies to stillbirth. one baby who was born alive bad after a month tragically. then in 1881, her husband died of a gruesome case of tuberculosis. now, legend has it that sarah was a spiritualist
10:20 pm
and believed that the world of ghosts in the world of the dead overlaid the world of the living and it's a doozy of a ghost story and as with any ghost story the ghosts usually have a message for us and in this case there are, according to legend went to a medium who told her she was being haunted by all of the winchester rifle partial tees and she needed to atone for this by building, perhaps building a house for them. we don't know what she was up to. but, that she was to never stop building. she was to keep building nonstop using her rifle fortune she'd inherited to do so, so sarah moved out to san jose in 1885. one of her sisters had already moved out and on a win should body plot of land. it wasn't for sale, but she managed to buy a modest cottage at a time and from that point on she built on extracting it-- extravagant
10:21 pm
fabulous house that really made no sense. it's like a riddle and did not stop until her death. her death was in 1922. today-- host: how many rooms were there and what did it look like and why did she get so carried away with the house? guest: so, before the earthquake -- san francisco earthquake in 1906 it had over 200 rooms and earthquake last part of the front of the house. there are a few explanations for what she was up to. the most profane explanation is that she was architectural hobbyist, but she did not know anything about architecture so she would just build a room on top of another room. she built a staircase that just lead to the ceiling and led nowhere. she would build very small rooms with very small to foot-high doors next to huge cabinets that had much bigger doors that went nowhere
10:22 pm
and designed the house like a maze. when you are in it, you're disoriented and not sure where you are going. it's easy to lose your way. the ghost story says that she was doing this to try to evade the wicked spirits or atone for the winchester casualties. but, in my research i found one or two enticing clues to suggest that she might have indeed believed in ghosts, but i cannot say that i absolutely have approved that. host: you have a picture in your book of her séance room. guest: that's right. host: right ahead. guest: that's one of the things that kind of makes me believe the go story about sarah winchester. in the late 1800s one of the bruises of mediums is that they would perform stances and
10:23 pm
rooms that had special cabinets built where they could pretend to be a spirit. you know, they could create an illusion for the person sitting there that the spirit was actually materializing before them and it was also recommended that if someone wanted to become a better medium should spend hours a day sitting in a spirit, a very small cabinet in a room in the dark meditating. and that great materialization's would come to them if they went through this ritual and they did it faithfully every single day. writes in the center of sarah's mistry has is this room known as the séance room and you can see there is this worn par on the floor where prep she was pacing back and forth and there is a cabinet that conforms very much to the kind of cabinet that mediums sort of use and spiritualist used in the 1800s.
10:24 pm
to meditate and try to materialize spirits. host: what was the best source of research for you for this book? what archives? guest: well, i research really from east coast to the west coast and i followed down both the sad story and all of the winchester story in the daniel colts story appeared the winchester are housing cody, wyoming, so i spent several weeks going through company records there, which are incredibly rich. they include all sorts of confidential correspondence about sales, marketing, advertising copy, board of directors notes and memos, memoirs from employees, gestate trolled abeyance christine information. passer researched the cold company records. also, oliver winchester family letters in new haven.
10:25 pm
so come on these were very rich sources, but the winchester records are really the backbone research wise for the book and he's my main character. host: what was the impact of hollywood and dime novels and television and movies like the jimmy stewart movie, winchester 73f think it was? what was the impact of that pop culture on building a gun lovebird gun appreciation in america? guest: the impact was huge. one of the interesting things about the pop-culture proliferates in the 1800s and how much of our gun fables and gun legends are really the 1900s talking about 1800s. the quantity of production is staggering. it was 35 million wester
10:26 pm
paperbacks published in the 1950s. there were over 1400 western movies released between 1935 and 1960. of all of the books written about gunslingers and gunmen in one biography, 241 of the 2000 were written in the 1900s, particularly. a lot of them speak of the gun is really a function of the pop-culture of mid- 20th century america reflecting back on the gun historically and a lot of this is taking the seeds of some of the myths that were planted, some of the stories-- stories that were planted in the 1880s and 1870s and exaggerating them in developing them and normally these stories about gunmen move in the direction of overkill. they tend to exaggerate both the quantity of gun violence and for like a better term the quality
10:27 pm
of the gun violence, where the conflict happens. most of the gun violence in reality is more impulsive and cause by angry impulse. look, these dime normal-- and novels planted the seed for a real explosion of the gun mystique really in the mid- 20th century. host: we had several presidents fascinated by gunfire and there were a number of attempts made-- my question is did that trigger any national discussion of so-called gun control and if not white-- i think the big discussion happened in the mid- and late 60s, but what was the impact of those events on the gun business if any?
10:28 pm
guest: in my work at least i didn't see either an impact or shift in public the debt discourse. theater roosevelt was also shot on his way to a speech. shot in the shoulder and he would have and delivered his speech and went to the hospital later, maybe i don't even know if he did that he said it will take more than that to shut me down, so id thing for the time period i'm looking at at least to my knowledge it did have much been impact, but again i don't think that the gun was by any means as politicized as it is today. the gun politics are very recent invention in the story. host: gun politics is, of course, a hyper controversial and provocative" subject and you doing your epilogue get into it
10:29 pm
with some ideas you have, commonsense recommendations to reduce gun violence but i went to get into, but before we do and wondered when you look at the history of the gun business, at what point does the national rifle association become powerful and how does it evolve over time? guest: well, it was founded in 1871. largely, over alarm at poor marksmanship and also a lack of rifle ranges pick the organization-- i guess it's first lobbying in a sense was for rifle ranges because they found most states had barry back rifle ranges or no rifle ranges, so it certainly wasn't a lobbying entity as we would think about it today.
10:30 pm
it certainly did not in any way represent the gun industry or gun industry interested in 1934, the national firearms legislation is debated and to me this is a moment, late 1920's, early 1930s is really a moment when you can begin to see the emergence of a gun politics that we would recognize today. 1934, the nra president who was an olympic marksman testified that he had not even been paid for his visits to washington and lobbying, so you can see it's a very germinal organization. during those hearings the organization for the first time used a direct mail campaign to all of its members to urge them to write to their legislators to oppose this attempt at some federal firearms regulation. it's beginning to become a force in the early
10:31 pm
1930s and it was much earlier organized in any kind of pro- gun-control forces, so they did have sort of organizational head starts politically over gun-control organizations. .com. even then during these 1934 hearings i think it's important to note that the attorney general? guest: eight-- tour distinction between a hobbyist represented by the nra and the gun industry. he felt the gun industry was being very cooperative in dealing with the problem, bootleg or violence gun violence and he actually chided the hobbyist represented by the nra because he felt they were being unreasonable in their position. although, it's worth pouring out the nra was in favor against-- was in favor of legislation against machine guns. [inaudible]
10:32 pm
guest: so, the rifle in the hunter sort of became an ally any argument and they saw one for all strategy began to be adopted. host: a reminder to viewers we are speaking with pamela haag author rob "the gunning of america: business and the making of american gun culture". pamela is a historian. my question, pamela is i will come right out and ask it, what is your position if any specifically on the second amendment? what does it mean to you? guest: i don't know that i came into this with a firm position in all and i don't think i'm leaving with a firm position, particularly or specifically about the second amendment. i think it is the part of our culture, our gun culture that is indeed exceptional and
10:33 pm
protected the rights of citizens to own arms and other citizens don't have this protection. said that's been in place, to me it makes more sense to pay at least some attention politically that to the second amendment aspect of things in interpreting that, but to the gun makers, the gun industry and to shift the attention a little bit away from the gun owner and even tactically it just seems that that's not been an effective approach. i don't think there's been nearly enough attention to this other arena. perhaps, the gun industry can be asked to do more. may be consumer activism should become more of a focus as we try to deal with a problem gun violence that everyone cares about, regardless of their position on the second amendment, so really the thrust of my work is more towards shifting the focus. let's set aside the issue of the gun owner
10:34 pm
and look more than maker. host: pamela, one of your suggestions at the end of your book is that we consider repealing the 2005 act that exempted gun manufacturers from much liability. my question is, gun manufacturers, of course, are creating a perfectly legal product on a huge scale purchase by the military, police and law-abiding sportsmen and hobbyists, if they create a product that blows up in your hand or injure someone from a product point of view or design flaw, are they-- with a not be liable for that and why should they be liable for any other kind of liability? this is the controversy between bernie sanders, of course, and hillary clinton with different positions, but can you claim to why you think we should repeal that 2005 law?
10:35 pm
guest: the gun industry today enjoys unique status that would be the envy of almost any other industry. it's not just the 2005 legislation. since 1997 they have been insulated from any thunder look-- federally funded research that might appear to support and control legislation, so they are protected from that potential challenge to their market. since 1972, they have been exempted from consumer regulatory bodies because they kind of fell under the alcohol tobacco and firearms umbrella, but that is not actually a consumer organization. so, they do enjoy a lot of special special privileges. i don't think the idea behind read-- repealing out legislation is that a gun company could ever be held universally liable simply for harm. it's that right now americans don't have a day in court by which they can develop a case, a court case that
10:36 pm
perhaps become a has not done enough. for example, to manage its dealers of the dealers aren't selling to criminals or haven't done enough to ensure product safety. it's more, at least gaining access to the process, which right now does exist. host: why would you hold a manufacturer liable for the behavior of a completely separate distinct entity like a dealer who is supposedly following the law? pellet the manufacturer have anything to do with thackeray to well, historically the gun manufacturers and dealers have had close relationships. in the late 1990s, when some of the civil litigation was considered smith & wesson voluntarily said we want to divide a code of ethics for our dealers who are selling our guns. it was quite comprehensive and it was inspired maybe
10:37 pm
unfortunately by this lawsuit from several cities, but the result of that was a move in a very positive direction where they were modeling themselves after the auto industry and going to say here are some things that we want our dealers to do. for example, a need to work harder against straw purchasers. so, there is evidence of this type of pressure that might compel manufacturers to think more closely about how their dealers are doing business and historically winchester -- the winchester companies related that pic they were always on top of which dealers were proceeding-- push your products which dealers were undercutting their prices, so there is intimacy to manufacture and the dealer, which is dealer than the deep-- doing the customer. host: i see. i see. i recently asked the national rifle
10:38 pm
association yesterday, in fact, wanted to understand their point of view. i asked one of the top people, what are your recommendations for reducing gun violence. here are two things they respond with a note like to get your take on them. number-one, arrest, prosecute and punish those who break him as. the simple fact is that anything illegal that anyone can do with a firearm is already illegal under current law, but these laws are not being enforced. what about that? guest: i think that's taking me a bit beyond my area of expertise with history of the gun industry. in general-- host: you doing your epilogue you make three or four recommendations and i'm just trying to see who, you know, you and i have both written books about guns. i think like you i have
10:39 pm
not figured out precisely what i see solutions bargained by lazar, so i'm interesting to look at the so-called gun control advocates in the national rifle association to see if there are any points they agree on. i found a point they agree with you on, pamela. 's mark gun technology. now, in your epilogue you write that gun control advocates and opponents hate this idea or you use words similar to that that they loathe the idea of smart guns-- smart and technology. i asked the national rifle association with the position was any response was: if a market once it they are not opposed to it. i think their issue is if there is a law requiring it before the technology is used or maybe ever or before the technology is perfected
10:40 pm
that where it could be circumvented or imperfect technology or technology that would block rightful owners from being able to use the gun, but if the markets determine that for example or if the federal government tomorrow said manufacturers, we what's smart technology quickly develops for all the guns we buy from you, you know the marines with mike-- rifles and handguns. the manufacturers would probably scrabble to do that and that and i would have no opposition to that end the consumer would benefit, so smart gun technology seems to be something you-- the nra agrees with you on. was the promise of that as a potential remedy do you think to violence? guest: out of my reading of the secondary literature is really compelling, new, interesting point. much of the problem with guns is straw purchases, secondhand purchases, people who buy guns that
10:41 pm
then and up another hands. so, it was certainly address that. i think it's important to recognize that nothing is single-handedly going to solve any problem. of the enormity of gun violence and a lot of the problem gun violence obviously. but, this market and technology has been in the pipeline. even some graduate students at john hopkins with very little money were making great progress in developing prototypes for smartphone technology. to me, it's at least a solution that gets off of the familiar track of trying to predict who might end up, for example, being a mass shooter when have no red flag, when there is absolutely way that a gun dealer can be expected to read their mind. at least the technology is a little more of a distance focus. it could be incentivized
10:42 pm
it's trying something different that would cut in to all of the secondary markets, straw purchasers, which as i understand it are a problem. host: yeah, the other idea they mentioned to me, the nra did was quote fix our broken mental health system. those mentally ill people with a propensity for violence even one identified like the colorado theater and navy yard, tucson and fort hood shooters aren't being placed into that check system to ensure they are not able to purchase firearms. plus, i believe some of these mass killers are passing background checks. it seems as though many states are not feeding the right information into that system and to fix that system would seem to be a priority. what do you think about that, if you surveyed
10:43 pm
the current landscape? is the mental health issue a college when? guest: when that really strikes me and to your question is that 60% of gun deaths are suicide, so it's not just the people who are actually committing crimes. it's that the majority of the over 30,000 gun deaths in this country every year are actually suicides, self-destruction. so, that's a very hidden tragedy in the gun control debate. i think that's definitely one of the avenues that could be explored, but again in a lot of the violence that is everyday and ordinary in the cities really is
10:44 pm
that propelled by mental health issues per se. so, it's a complicated issue. i mean, in-- guns tend to emerge out of mass shootings out of these very dramatic and disorienting and tragic events, but we also have day-to-day gun violence. host: which would also seem to argue for targeted, very targeted law enforcement prosecutions to zero in on those areas and for any person to be killed by a gun is, of course, a hideous tragedy. i understand, though, firearms related deaths have been on the decline by about 50% over the last 20 years and i guess the pamela haag's and the nra's the lame doyles of the world somehow get together and things that as you said or a basket of things that can get these
10:45 pm
numbers down way below where they are and the suicide is interesting. guest: i think that suicide really has been invisible for almost 100 years. i mean, even though we have gun violence that started in the 1920s it was very much about gangster violence, but even then gun suicide rates were on the rise, but there's never been integrated into the conversation any meaningful way i don't think on either side. so, that's definitely something i think should be made more visible. it's one of the kind issues that need to be more visible, but you know, some of the hopeful sign that i see when i talk about taking a business focus approach another general recommendation i made is that we take a conscience focus
10:46 pm
approach to guns, which in my mind means thinking a little less about what everyone has a right to do or what other people have a right to force them to do and thinking more about doing more than is required legally or contractually. for example, after new orleans mass shooting, can remember which one it is right now, voluntarily decided they were not going to sell a particular assault weapon. no one was insisting, no one was asking. that was simply an attempt, i believe, i being a good corporate citizen, trying something. there is a gun shop in milwaukee, wisconsin that was found to be responsible for having sold a whole bunch of guns that kill police officers involved in crime and they now have a members only policy. they only sell to-- sort of like costco, i guess.
10:47 pm
they only sell to members of their store, people they now. these things are to be enforced legally or by the second amendment or gun regulations, but they are gestures of trying to do what we can more like conscious -based level trying to be a good corporate citizen. host: do you think the massmarketing done by then manufacturers over the years did create demand or did it into a latent american fascination with american history as express their guns, which is kind of the cutting edge of war and law enforcement is up and so forth. did marketing create the demand or was that interest already there? guest: well, that's a great chicken and egg question, for sure but i think applies to any industry. i spent a lot of time thinking about that.
10:48 pm
it is certainly the case that there was never a time when there was no gun demand in america. guns have always been here and you can always find customers, but i think the algorithm of the gun industry was really demanding. patented firearms or-- newfangled and quite lethal, firearms and the revolver in the rifle. they are built to last and their ideally not use that often. furthermore, they were being produced in ever greater quantities that are faster as the country became more urban, more of the post- frontier country, arguably more of a country or guns would not really be needed. it's interesting the turn of the century maybe things could have gone another way. maybe the guns of the frontier might have faded as we came more of an urban society, but they didn't, so i think at every key moment the
10:49 pm
industry had to figure out like any other industry not because they were diabolical or nefarious, how do we find more business and who is going to buy all of these guns. when oliver winchester open a factory and new haven in 1886 the town that he was crazy. they said who is going to buy guns in the quantity you can produce them, which was 200 and. they thought you will operate for three or four days and set out of rest of the time. colts first factory went bankrupt and part of the problem was these guns weren't needed by the average american, so there's always been-- you know, it's a tango, it's really a tango between pre-existing desires and the quite natural business of creating new desires for finding new new markets, building and designing gun that might appeal to those markets and there are a lot of interesting
10:50 pm
failures along the way as well in that regard. host: were guns one of the first global multinational american exports and businesses? guest: yeah, this is one of the most fascinating findings out of the archives. i had no idea when i went into this research. i guess what i thought about gun owners in the gun customer that buffalo bill, john wayne and the usual images. it's fascinating that in the years before and after the civil war the american gun industry very much a survived and is still alive on its international non-us sales. the scope of that is absolutely breathtaking. all of the major manufacturers from colt to winchester, remington, smith & wesson were staying alive on selling guns to almost every country but the united states.
10:51 pm
in winchester's case yet he used-- for 2000 rifles to the sultan of the ottoman empire in 1870s. smith & wesson sold to the russian guards. remington sold 140,000 rifles to the french, the largest production that had ever been realized and on armory. they encamped one of their most charming family members, samuel remington at all of the royal courts of europe where he demonstrated the rifle and sold profitably to sweden, norway. the war forces for the vatican, egypt, winchester had a large contract in 1856 to mexico. the list goes on. so, even though today i think the united states has a unique gun could apology. we have some completely deranged relationships to guns and it's very
10:52 pm
worth noting that the countries that are very judgmental as the american gun problem today were very much the countries that were keeping that business alive in the 19th century for a good check of time. host: oh, really? guest: yes, really after the civil war demand was dismal here unsurprisingly and had it not been for these foreign international contracts it's likely that these entities could've stayed in business. winchester, survey not. so, think that american gun culture is really better and more accurately understood as an international and i'm not. it was a global phenomenon by which america was arming the world. they were clamoring for these new modern weapons and by 1881, according to one account, almost every single rifle gone on a loading system was up american origin with
10:53 pm
the exception of one model, one gun. host: that's globally your speaking of? guest: yes, this is a very hidden part of the gun history. host: yeah, so in other words the french colonial empire, the belgian colonial empire, the british colonial empire countries who currently are certainly happy to criticize our gun culture that they fueled the multinational gun manufacturers of america-- c2 absolutely. host: prime suppliers. guest: absolutely. take about the very first gun market in the united states as being the us military because we were relied in the late 1700s almost entirely on europe, but as our industry developed as we were on the cutting edge and the first arrivals in the industry and at the very keyed juncture the 1850s and 1860s and 70s,
10:54 pm
very much relied on the international commerce, so this is part of the first wave of globalization in the united states gun industry was very much the leading edge of that. i would be hard-pressed to name a country or confident by 1910 that winchester had not armed. they had globetrotting salesman as early as 1860s who formed expatriate communities, government communities throughout europe, so even though belgium started as this gun smith powerhouse it was rapidly superseded by american industry and it to be is very much the case that although these countries don't have civilian violence away we do today that materialism in western europe very much fueled our gun industry at a key moment. host: ic. what is this-- well, what is the connection between gun history and
10:55 pm
race relations in the united states? are thinking about post- civil war events. guest: i think that a lot of the gun history could be told as the history of race and race relations. gun ownership before the civil war was always hiring the south than in other regions of the country. that dates back to colonial days. after the civil war, as it became clear that african-americans in the south were not going to enjoy the rights or protections that they expected even some african-american leaders like w eb deploys began to recommend that winchester had it place of honor in every back home. this became a way sort of equality of last resort. this would be the way that african-americans could defend themselves in absence of other protections, in the absence of true equality.
10:56 pm
the gun steps in to fill that role, so at this point we are on a spiral the gun might be loved for that reason and great for that reason, but over time the guns kind of get turned inward and get used in more intimate spaces, used in one's own community, so even by the 1930s and 1940s the homicide rate in southern african-american communities work seven or eight times higher. i think the lure of the gun was very strong after the civil war for very good reason, but then ultimately just led to more gun violence within the communities. host: will come i sometimes think of our gun situation today as a kind of a infinite maze and hall of mirrors and horrorshow as if there's no way out. but, i hope anyone
10:57 pm
interested in guns in america read this book as a starting point, as a subject of debate and discussion from the person who strongly supports the second amendment, the hunter and any citizen who strongly believes in the second amendment and to anyone who really wants gun safety or gun control wants to stop-- help stop gun violence in america, so it's a great place to start. i just wondered if there was a psu would like to add to what we talked about today that would further debt discussion, pamela? guest: it's been a pleasure to have this conversation. i hope people will give the book a chance and i hope that if they read it become away from the book with a much richer understanding about how we ended up with some guns and have a gun developed in our culture and how it really developed in the 1900s and 1800s and i hope
10:58 pm
that they will be a little more skeptical the next time they carry sense that begins, americans have always been cowboys are we have always loved guns. this has all changed over time and it can change again. host: well, thank you so much, pamela we have been speaking with pamela haag, author of: "the gunning of america: business and the making of american gun culture". i'm william doyle. thank you c2 thank you. >> c-span, created by america's cablevision television companies are brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> book td tapes hundreds of author program struck the country all your long. here's a look at some of the events we will cover this week. on tuesday, we are at the ford foundation in new york city where
10:59 pm
david roth, vice president of the service employees international union will discuss the movement to increase worker's wages. that day in san francisco at the world affairs council, time magazine, this will argue that the financial practices that led to the 2008, economic crisis has spread to all american businesses. wednesday, law professor daniel hatcher reports on how state local governments are misusing federal funds that are intended to benefit poor families. he will speak at busboys and poets bookstore and café in washington dc. then come on thursday at barnes & noble in virginia, former secret service officer gary burns talked about what he observed about bill and hillary clinton during his time protecting the first family and extended, where life with best-selling author and journalist sebastian younger on in-depth and he will take your questions and comments on his many books
11:00 pm
including his latest on american veterans returning to civilian life. that's a look at some of the author programs tv is covering this week. many of these events are open to the public pic look for them to air in the near future a book to be on c-span2. >> we are very pleased to have with us this evening can weston. ..

531 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on